Reflecting on Pride
A few weeks ago, we shared a new resource from the Unitarian Universalist Association’s LGBT Ministries staff entitled “10 Ways to Celebrate Pride.” In response, we received a number of emails from Standing on the Side of Love supporters sharing their stories, talking about what Pride means to them, or offering suggestions. Here is sampling of the most resonant excerpts.
From Jess Banks of White Bear UU Church in St. Paul, Minnesota (edited for length):
“[My sons] Connor, Griffin, and I walked in the Twin Cities Pride Parade last June, under the banner of our wonderful, inclusive church family…Our ranks were swelled by members of another UU church (with drums!), and we took our place behind a paramedic crew on their ambulance. We left about 100 ft. between ourselves and the ambulance, in hopes of avoiding the exhaust fumes, but I told Connor and another 9-year-old, Diana, that they could use the space so long as they danced and rode Diana’s adorably-decorated scooter to put on a show.
This was the order Connor has been waiting for his entire life. For the next two miles or so, Connor danced with streamers and beads. He breakdanced (well, sort of). He did fake kung-fu. He swooped like an airplane from one side of the street to the other and back again. He gave high fives and tousled little kids’ hair among the spectators. He was the one thing he has ever wanted to be–the absolute center of attention. And the crowd LOVED HIM.
Asperger’s kids have to work so hard, all the time, to make themselves and their feelings smaller, to contain themselves to conform to societal norms. I’m not proud to say that, most of the time we’re in public, I live in fear of mortification at the next boundary he violates. For him and for me, it’s a constant strain to color inside the lines, and opportunities to say, “Go, be entirely yourself, all the way, as big as you want,” are vanishingly rare. But this parade was just that opportunity, and it was a joy to unhook the leash and set him free.”
From the Rev. Dr. Ann Weld:
“My story of gay pride is in being a Gay Activist for 55 years. I will turn 70 years old in late June… I knew I was gay at 7 years old, when I kissed another little girl in the brook..since then I have been out and had a nice run of being an activist, all the way to the US Supreme Court, and had Elvis Costello follow me wherever I spoke about gay rights and dignity.”
From Kristen Montan:
“I continue to celebrate Pride every year in SF. The one weekend this Genderqueer Transman feels ‘normal’ and accepted, not the odd man out, I need this, I think we all do. I am torn every June… GA is always the same weekend as the 2 biggest Pride celebrations (SF & NYC) until this changes I have to choose my Pride over GA!”
From Rebecca Keller Scholl, Director of Religious Education at First Parish of Brookline, Massachusetts:
“Last year only 4 adults marched from our congregation – and it was important that we change the lack of enthusiasm and support of Pride….Last Sunday after church we tie-dyed t-shirts and signed people up to march – right now we have 45 congregants participating. We are planning on creating a human rainbow.”
From Raemona Mae Clark:
“I am a member of unity of clearwater, located directly across the street from uu, we are also an all inclusive spiritual community, its the most diversive and fun loving church that ive ever been involved with, in my life, every sunday there’s a rainbow that comes in through the window and stays throughout the service, hows that for PRIDE!”
From Anna Isaacs (edited for length):
“Thanks for giving congregations really concrete and doable suggestions with 10 ways to celebrate pride. I am infinitely grateful for UU support for lgbt folks. I share the following in a spirit of love. As a younger queer at 33, I have to admit I’m sometimes a bit uncomfortable with how very earnest UUs are about lgbt issues. To be frank, especially at celebrations like pride, we can sometimes come across as a bit somber and painfully earnest. Pride is time to celebrate!…So here are some pitches for 11th & 12th ways for UUs to celebrate pride…
11) Facebook Pride slogan t-shirt contest & t-shirt sale
12) “Religion done you wrong? Dunk the church!”: Rent a dunk tank for post-pride parade celebrations and have church members in costume offer themselves up to be dunked”
Thanks to all who shared their thoughts with us!
PS: Are you or your congregation celebrating Pride this year? Send your anecdotes, photos, and videos to email@example.com to be featured in a future blog post.